Tigers stay cool to edge out Typhoon
Still in their jerseys and set to play in the final just two hours later, the Taipei Typhoon sat down for a cup of coffee.
While they sipped their lattes and wolfed down sandwiches and sausage rolls, the Typhoon, who finished first in the round robin competition, kept their eyes on the ice, watching the semi-final between the Bangkok Flying Farangs and the Typhoon's eventual opponents, the Hong Kong Tigers. But despite the Typhoon's scouting and jolt of caffeine, the Tigers pulled out a 1-0 win to clinch the 2007 Hockey International Fives.
'We could have won, we could have lost,' Tigers forward Duane Ripley said. '[The Typhoon] are younger and faster, but our goalie played great.'
The Tiger's Jamie Stark scored the game's only goal, with just under nine minutes to go in the final 12-minute period. They entered the tournament for the first time this year, with many of the players having played American college hockey or Canadian major junior hockey.
Hong Kong were also victorious in the women's tournament. For the third year in a row, the Women's Ice Hockey Organisation (WIHO) won the gold medal after Adrienne Li scored 20 seconds into overtime for a 1-0 win over the Red Bullets from Japan.
'Going into the overtime we were playing for a shootout,' WIHO coach Henry Tong said. '[The Red Bullets] are a faster team - they are stronger on the puck. But we broke out and sent everyone in and our defenceman [Li] scored.'
Li, who was named the game's most valuable player, had a different assessment on her goal. 'We just didn't want to play another five minutes,' she said.
After playing in Kuala Lumpur for the past few years, the tournament, which originated at the rink in Taikoo Shing, moved back to Hong Kong and was played at the international-sized rink at Kowloon Tong. The move not only meant playing in a new facility, but playing a different game. For the first time, the tournament was played five-on-five, as opposed to four-on-four. Though the switch was welcomed by the players, it was also a challenge.
'It was a difficult transition,' Li said. 'There is a lot more skating. We've never played five-on-five.'
Tong felt that the transition gave his team something else to be proud of. 'The Japanese team always plays five-on-five so this is quite an accomplishment for us,' Tong said. 'We're playing their game.'